The past costumers for Miss Canada seem to have an identity crisis of sorts, not really knowing how to authentically represent their unique national identity in a flamboyant soundbite of an ensemble.
What makes Canada unique? In the past, they've featured Mounties, maple leaves, and even hockey sticks, but they always come back to old standby: "the Native."
So, while the Canadian public is so rife with violent racist attacks against Native people that CBC (the national public radio and television broadcaster) had to take action and shut down the comment sections on all stories about Aboriginal people (even the stories about our stolen sisters), it's interesting that the same populace proudly trots out a non-Native representative of their nation in an Aboriginal-themed costume. Repeatedly. Seriously, this is not the first time this has happened.
Is the only good Indian a non-Indian in an Indian costume? Hell, what other message is being sent with these contradictory actions?: Hateful dismissive words on the one hand and applause applause applause on the other.
If you feel so inclined, please let Miss Canada know that she still has time to make the right decision and rethink her "National Costume" - as it is a completely inaccurate representation of not only Aboriginal cultures, but also the state of affairs in Canada. Until we start seeing some real respect for our Indigenous sisters and brothers, hands off.
But now, an update.
|Estevez's costume sketch.|
So here we have a young lady wishing to represent Canada in the best way and make the nation proud. We also have a young designer wanting to honor Canada’s Aboriginal population through his garments. Why, then, when we have so many good intentions on the table, do we still come up shorthanded when it comes to representing Native people and our cultures appropriately and accurately? (And, as a sidebar, how does a person, who wants to win a global title, make this kind of cultural faux pas?) What’s the big hang-up? Where’s the glitch in the system? Why are we consistently excluded from having a say in how our cultures are being represented?
Is it because the Canadian government doesn’t provide adequate mandatory K-12 education when it comes to First Nations histories, cultures, and communities because it doesn’t serve the interests of the nation? Is it because of mass historical amnesia? Is it because immigrants don’t know that we still exist? Is it because colonialism effectively took everything from Indigenous hands (I’m talking land, objects, our symbols, our names, our children, our designs, our stories) so Canada now sees it as essentially theirs to use however they want?
Hey, you need to represent Canada?, oh let’s just dig around in this big ol’ free bin of Native American symbols and see what we can throw together without ever consulting one actual First Nations person. Yes, let’s stick with that. Because to start an actual dialogue would be the equivalent of pulling the loose thread on a very, very poorly knit sweater.